New England Patriots Gameday: A Shogun named Bill


“Yes, I’m a New World Samurai, and I can read your mind
Check it out, I’m like a buzzbomb
Yes, I’m a New World Samurai,
Check it out, I’m like a buzzbomb”

Upon first glance, it appears that Peyton Manning outperformed Tom Brady on Sunday in what was dubbed a showdown between the two best Quarterbacks in the NFL, perhaps the two best quarterbacks in NFL History.

A double-take tells a different tale.

Manning racked up typical stats, completing 31 of 44 passes, good for 345 yards, with three touchdowns, no picks and a 116.2 passer rating.  Brady finished at 23 of 31 for only 223 yards, with one touchdown, no interceptions and a 104.6 rating.

The numbers don’t lie.  Statistically, Manning dominated Brady.  So, how is it that Manning was able to put up clearly superior numbers – yet still end up on the short end of the 31-21 final score?

Simply said, Brady didn’t have to.

Brady has always been on the cutting edge of Coach Bill Belichick’s innovative schemes.  His football intelligence is the stuff of legend.  One of the greatest things about watching Brady play is seeing him standing in the backfield, barking out assignments to his charges, identifying the “Mike”, changing the play at the line.  He is a reflection of Belichick on the field.  Some may call him seito…

Oct 7, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks with his defense during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

Belichick’s warrior students – or seito –  have always been those upstanding in character and those who toed the line, relenting to his wisdom and logic – trusting in his knowledge of the system.  They are disciplined and conditioned to protect the football, and to take it away from their foe, to stomp them relentlessly until they submit. They follow blindly, knowing that the man who will go down in NFL history as the best ever to coach the game expects this of them.

He is the General.  He commands his troops and teaches them in the way of the soldier – that training and practice and attention to detail are necessary precursors to success on the field of battle.  He is the General, using his warriors to implement his teachings, combining them with brute force to subdue his enemies.

He is a modern day Shogun.

In ancient times, being a Shogun meant being a military General, often with more power and influence than the Emperor himself.  Appropriately used, the term sei-i-tai-shōgun meant, literally, “great general who subdues barbarians”.

The house that the Shogun resides in is refered to as Bakufu.  The persons who accompany the General and protects his Bakufu and those who dwell in it are known as Samurai.

On Sunday afternoon, in the Bakufu known simply as Gillette Stadium, these Samurai protected their turf, dominating the Barbarians known as the Denver Broncos with an offense operating with such precision that their total output was breathtakingly efficient and balanced.  Brady didn’t have to match Manning’s desperate heaves, as the up-tempo, hyperactive attack that he commands subdued the Broncos to the tune of 251 yards on the ground.

That’s right.  In this game of violent ground acquisition, it was the Patriots punishing ground attack that subdued Denver’s overwhelmed defense.  The running game, powered by the legs and vision of Stevan Ridley, his charge led by his behemoth linemen,  pounded the Broncos front seven into submission, with Brady throwing only if he thought he had the tactical advantage, and it worked like a charm.

Manning’s charges in the running game were stonewalled by New England’s defensive forces, forcing him to the air.  In fact, 206 of Manning’s 345 yards and two of his touchdown tosses came in desperation time, after New England had taken a commanding 31-7 lead, with just under 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.

Conversely, only 47 of Brady’s total came after that lead was achieved and he had already geared it down, with almost all of the yardage converting 3rd downs while working on the clock with the running game.  What this means is that Brady outgained his counterpart 176 – 139 when it counted the most,  both tallying one score through the air.

The Patriots’ ground game took care of the rest, scoring 3 times and completely controlling the pace of the game.

“Running that offense, Tom Brady is just as good as he’s always been. And that’s why we lose. Because he’s just as good as he’s always been.” lamented Bronco’s All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey, “We knew what was coming, but we couldn’t stop it.”

If the Shogun and his Samurai continue dominating their barbaric foes at the pace they’ve set the past two weeks, every player that they face will be echoing Bailey’s sentiments, singing the sad song of the vanquished:

“So Beebop alloobop awop shamboo
And domo arigato if I got to”

Clutch, from the album Transnational Speedway League

Experience it here